Eyeing a new bike, would love to hear opinions.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Eyeing a new bike, would love to hear opinions.

    Real quick background story:
    I started commuting last year on an introductory MTB (HM Predator). After about 4 or 5 months I realized that I really enjoyed cycling to and from work so I decided to order a frame (Leader 526H) and build my own MTB. After about 9 months of switching out and upgrading parts on my Leader, I ended up with a bunch of spare parts. I decided to order another frame and use my spare parts to build another MTB. Now I have 3 MTBs, 2 of which I never ride. So Iíve been eyeing road bikes lately and have decided to get rid of the 2 bikes that I donít ride and get a road bike. However, I know very little about road bikes.

    Iím seriously considering getting a Bítwin Fitness 3 from Decathlon. It is a Flat Bar Road Bike which is good because Iím already used to Flat Bar Trigger Shifters. It comes with the Shimano Sora Groupset (crank set, front and rear derailleur) which I know absolutely nothing about but I assume that it is roughly equivalent to Alivio or Deore when compared to MTB components. The frame is aluminum with a carbon fiber seat stay and it comes with a carbon fiber rigid fork. The bike is Ä499 which will end up costing me about $585 (US) after subtracting taxes and converting currencies.

    If anyone has any experience with Bítwin bikes, the Shimano Sora Groupset, or commuting on Flat Bar Road Bikes; Iíd love to hear your opinions. Here is a link to the bike that Iím looking at: https://www.btwincycle.com/EN/fitness-3-54-57-69013714/
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  2. #2
    weirdo
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    Miche cassette? I thought they only made track stuff. Yeah, Sora is suposedly the rough equivalent of Alivio. I`ve never had any, but I imagine it would hold out quite a while for the light use you have in mind- maybe even last better than the lighter stuff. But is that bike really much different from the MTBs you already don`t use? If you`re looking for some variety, maybe you`d like drop bars. Could you hire a cross bike or a sport geometry road bike to see how it feels to you? I know we`re all different, but we bought a used tandem a few years ago that came with wide dropbars bars and bar end shifters and I got to really dig that setup to the point that I built up my tourer with the same cockpit. In your case, you might even get along with STI better than I do.

  3. #3
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    When I originally decided to get a new bike, I had a cross bike in mind because I figured that I could still ride on cobblestone and gravel roads without much problem and a good portion of my commute is on unpaved surfaces. However, most of the cyclocross bikes I looked at had close to identical gearing ratios as the MTB I ride now (44-32-22 crank & 11-28 cassette). I figured that I could at least get closer to standard road bike gearing ratio with the 50-39-30 crank of the B'twin. My thought is that I can beef up the tires to the neighborhood of 700x32cc if I need a little more cushion for unpaved surfaces. What made me favor the flat bar over the traditional drop bar is that I'm already familiar with the setup and riding position. I think that the difference between the bike that I'm looking to get and the 2 bikes that I don't ride is that I'd ride the B'twin when I know that I'm primarily going to ride on paved surfaces and still ride my MTB when I want to be adventurous.
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  4. #4
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    Try a few bikes with drop bars. The position takes a little getting used to, but it's really much more fun on the road.

    Sora varies. It's a bit like Alivio, so I'd definitely want a better front derailleur, especially if you're planning to get a bike with a triple crank. A friend of mine has Sora STI levers, and hates them.

    If you're looking at brief stretches off pavement, you can do those on 23mm tires. It's irritating, but not impossible. It really sounds like a flat bar road bike would be the same as the two bikes you don't ride, so I'm with rodar - try a few traditional road bikes before you dismiss one as an option.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  5. #5
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon76
    However, most of the cyclocross bikes I looked at had close to identical gearing ratios as the MTB I ride now (44-32-22 crank & 11-28 cassette). I figured that I could at least get closer to standard road bike gearing ratio with the 50-39-30 crank of the B'twin.....

    ....What made me favor the flat bar over the traditional drop bar is that I'm already familiar with the setup and riding position.
    I`m certainly not an expert on CC bikes, but most of them I`ve seen come with compact doubles (34-50 or 36-50) and either mtb or wide range road cassettes. Is your current high gear not high enough, or do you just have an urge to put something "roadie" on the bike?

    I had the same idea about keeping with flatbars since I was more familiar with them. When we got the tandem, I figured we`d ride it "for now" like it was and I`d switch the bars later. Surprisingly, I ended up really liking the drops, mostly because I find having my palms towards each other to be a more natural position than palms down. It didn`t take me long to get accustomed. Maybe you won`t like them at all, but I definitely think you owe it to yourself to try some out and know for sure before you shell out the money for another bike. May as well know what all the options are about before deciding, right? Other than that, no- there isn`t anything I see that actually looks BAD about the bike you linked to. It`s just that it still looks to me like pretty much the same as what you already have. Sure, you could use it on the road and use another on the trails, but I don`t see the difference between doing that and using one of your current mtbs on the road with skinny slicks and using the other on the trail with knobbies. FWIW, my "road" bike and prefered tourig bike is an mtb with skinny 26" tires and the same gearing as it had from the factory. It has drop bars on it now for comfort, but it was just as fast (except in headwinds) with the flatbars.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    Is your current high gear not high enough, or do you just have an urge to put something "roadie" on the bike?
    It's mostly the urge to put something "roadie" on a bike. My current setup is fine because I normally spin at about 80-85rpm and I very rarely ever "spin out" unless I'm going down a significant incline. However, I've always heard that road bikes are faster than mountain bikes and I just wanted to see what all the hype was about for myself.

    I just got back from Decathlon and they didn't have the Fitness 3 in stock. The guy said that it would be 2 weeks before he gets one in. I did take a look at the b'Twin Sport 2 while I was there which is pretty much the same bike as the Fitness 3. The only differences are that the Sport 2 has a traditional drop bar with Sora Brake/Shifter Levers instead of a flat bar with trigger shifters, it has an 8 speed cassette instead of 9, and it comes with cheaper pedals. Otherwise it is the same bike and even the same price.
    https://www.btwincycle.com/EN/sport-2-54-57-69011672/

    I did ride a few road bikes around the store and figured out that the road bike riding position wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting it to be (I can even see how it can be more comfortable in some cases). I put a deposit down on a Fitness 3 so they will call me when they get one in, but the guy said that if I changed my mind once it got there that the deposit was completely refundable. I'm going to compare both bikes side by side once they call me and I'll end up getting one of them but right now I'm not sure which one.

    I'd really like to say thanks for the input. I thought I had my mind made up before, but at least now I'll be looking at both bikes without a complete bias toward one over the other.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch
    Try a few bikes with drop bars. The position takes a little getting used to, but it's really much more fun on the road.
    +1

    Also, if the Fitness 3 and Sport 2 are the same frame, then the position on the Fitness 3 will feel very upright, to the point of feeling odd, in my book.

  8. #8
    bi-winning
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    I`m certainly not an expert on CC bikes, but most of them I`ve seen come with compact doubles (34-50 or 36-50) and either mtb or wide range road cassettes. Is your current high gear not high enough, or do you just have an urge to put something "roadie" on the bike?
    Most cross bikes seem to have a 36/46 crank and a 12-25 cassette. Some have the 34/50 crank. And of course, there are other variants as well.

    My Rocky Mountain Solo CX came stock with 38/48 and 12-25. At the time of purchase, I swapped it out to 36/48 and 12-26. I find this gearing to be very versatile - as is the bike as a whole. I currently have 700x28 tires and fenders, but I have a set of 700x35 knobbies ready to go. If I wanted, I could throw on some skinnier tires too.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.

  9. #9
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    It's a done deal!

    First of all, I would like to thank everyone who took time to reply to my original post with suggestions and recommendations. I got a call from Decathlon today telling me that the b'Twin Fitness 3 I had them order arrived to the store. So after getting off or work I headed to the store to take a look at the bike and to compare it to the road bike that I looked at this weekend. Cutting to the chase; I finally made a choice after a half week of reading every "flat bar vs. drop bar" web page I could find, closely watching roadies on their bikes, and weighing every pro and con I could think of for each type of bar.

    And the winner is...

    The b'Twin Fitness 3 (with flat bars)

    I bought 700x28c tires to replace the 700x23c tires that the bike came with because I was pretty skeptical of the 700x23c's on my commute which includes some cobblestone and gravel roads. Good thing that I did by another set of tires and tubes because when I put the bike on the bike rack on the back of my SUV, the front tire hung directly in front of the exhaust so the rubber was literally burnt by the time I got home. I've changed out the tires but I probably won't really get to ride it until this weekend because I want to do a trial run to work before I actually start commuting on it.

    Here are some photos that I snapped when I got home.










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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon76
    Cutting to the chase; I finally made a choice after a half week of reading every "flat bar vs. drop bar" web page I could find, closely watching roadies on their bikes, and weighing every pro and con I could think of for each type of bar.

    And the winner is...

    The b'Twin Fitness 3 (with flat bars)
    Sweet! Nice bike. I used to commute on a mtn bike with slicks, but got lazy swapping wheels to ride on dirt. I've come to prefer a dedicated commuter with 700c wheel, enjoy!
    I'm gravity challenged, adrenaline deficient, and looking for that endorphine high. Shout out, I'll move out of the way. :-)

  11. #11
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon76
    I was pretty skeptical of the 700x23c's
    So am I.
    Glad you like your new bike- hope you get to ride it soon.

  12. #12
    PM Me for Wood Fenders
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    Looks sharp, what is that frame, AL or Steel? I too went with a Leader frame when I had the urge to build my own, great quality, I really hope the asshat that stole it has it fail under him though..lol

    Over time you may want to look at some of the drop bar variations. Many are out there and give you the same hand position and posture of flat bars, but also provide a number of other hand positions to help with fatigue over the commute. I went from flat to drops and love it. When I get back on a MTB, it feels confined...lol I find myself wanting to ride the top of the shifters. The shifters are another benefit. Sure, they still need to be tuned, but not near as much as my XT integrated.

    Bottom line, ENJOY!!
    The wood is being bent! Let me know what you need!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrekJeff
    AL or Steel?
    It's Aluminum with Carbon Seat Stay and Fork. I should get a chance to ride it over the long 4th of July weekend. I've ridden it just enough to properly adjust the derailleurs and I've already figured out that I probably won't use it to ride to/from work very often. Most of my commute is on cobble stone and this bike isn't nearly comfortable as my mtb on that surface. I'll probably ride this bike primarily on the weekends, which is when I log my longer rides.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon76
    It's Aluminum with Carbon Seat Stay and Fork. I should get a chance to ride it over the long 4th of July weekend. I've ridden it just enough to properly adjust the derailleurs and I've already figured out that I probably won't use it to ride to/from work very often. Most of my commute is on cobble stone and this bike isn't nearly comfortable as my mtb on that surface. I'll probably ride this bike primarily on the weekends, which is when I log my longer rides.

    Don't give up on it just yet. You could always go with some cyclocross tires to provide the semi street speed, with the traction and cush of the MTB. I ride a Surly CrossCheck and there really isn't much that I can't roll over. I ride with a pair of Ritchy Speed Max. The biggest factor will be the tire width you can fit. You might also want to look into a saddle with more comfort as well. The one fitted on your ride looks like it's just a cover over a hard shell. WTB makes a great line of cross seats.
    The wood is being bent! Let me know what you need!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrekJeff
    Don't give up on it just yet. You could always go with some cyclocross tires to provide the semi street speed, with the traction and cush of the MTB. I ride a Surly CrossCheck and there really isn't much that I can't roll over. I ride with a pair of Ritchy Speed Max. The biggest factor will be the tire width you can fit. You might also want to look into a saddle with more comfort as well. The one fitted on your ride looks like it's just a cover over a hard shell. WTB makes a great line of cross seats.
    I think that 28's are as big as I can go because I already have to make sure that the wheel is locked in as far down as I can get it because the tire will rub against the brake otherwise. The seat is pretty comfortable. It's a Selle Royal Viper which is similar to the Selle Royal Alpine that I use on my mountain bike. I can still ride it to work occasionally, I'll just have to take a difffeeent route which is a little longer and in traffic.
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  16. #16
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    CANTI's..lol
    The wood is being bent! Let me know what you need!

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